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Rabbi Elli Fischer

Rabbi Elli Fischer

Rabbi Elli Fischer, formerly the OU/ JLIC educator at the University of Maryland, is an independent translator, editor and writer. He lives in Modiin, Israel, with his wife and three children.

Nehemiah – Chapter 13

September 30, 2013, by

On the day they dedicated the wall around Jerusalem, they read the Book of Devarim (Deuteronomy), which comprises the farewell address of Moses. They read how the men of Ammon and Moab were not permitted to join Israel because of the way they treated the Jews in the wilderness. Not only were they inhospitable, they […]

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Nehemiah – Chapter 12

September 29, 2013, by

This chapter starts with yet another list. Verses 1-26 list the kohanim (priests) and Leviim (Levites) who returned to Israel with Zerubavel. When the Jerusalem wall was dedicated, the Leviim were summoned from all over the country to sing and play their instruments at the celebration. The kohanim and Leviim purified themselves, as well as […]

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Nehemiah – Chapter 11

September 28, 2013, by

We now return to the issue that was raised in chapter 7: Jerusalem was too sparsely populated to adequately defend itself. Nehemiah had gathered the heads of the families of Israel in order to encourage urbanization. The leaders agreed to stay and the people cast lots to see which one-tenth would relocate to the capital. […]

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Nehemiah – Chapter 10

September 27, 2013, by

This chapter continues where the previous one left off: But despite our troubles and oppression, we commit to a covenant, signed by our leaders, the Levites and the priests. Verses 2-28 list all those who signed; verse 29 says that the rest of the people, including more kohanim and Leviim, the Gibeonites, converts, and the […]

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Nehemiah – Chapter 9

September 26, 2013, by

On the 24th day of Tishrei, after all the holidays were over, the Jews gathered to fast and repent, wearing sackcloth and ashes. They confessed their sins and those who were in forbidden marriages separated from their spouses. They stood (because Vidui, the confession prayer, is recited standing), then they remained standing to read the […]

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Nehemiah – Chapter 8

September 25, 2013, by

The people who had returned to Jerusalem all gathered at the Water Gate and they told Ezra to bring a Torah with him. The day was Rosh Hashana and Ezra taught Torah, both Written and Oral, to everyone – men, women and children. He taught in front of the Water Gate from daybreak until noon. […]

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Nehemiah – Chapter 7

September 24, 2013, by

Finally, the wall was finished and the doors were installed, so Nehemiah appointed Levites as gatekeepers and singers. He placed his brother Chanani and another respected man named Chananya in charge, instructing them that the gates were not to be opened until noon, when it was hottest, in order to avoid enemy attack. At other […]

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Nehemiah – Chapter 6

September 23, 2013, by

Sanvalat, Tovia, Geshem and the rest of the enemies heard that the wall had been completed and there were no more breaches through which they could invade. When the doors were installed in the gates, the opponents lost their last opportunity for entry into the city. Sanvalat and Geshem invited Nehemiah to sit down and […]

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Nehemiah – Chapter 5

September 22, 2013, by

Nehemiah was approached by several groups of needy Jews. The first complained that they had no money with which to buy food for their families. The second complained that they had to mortgage their property to buy food and they were afraid of foreclosure. The third group went into debt to pay their taxes and […]

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Nehemiah – Chapter 4

September 21, 2013, by

Sanvalat and Tovia had attracted a group of Arabs, Ammonites and Ashdodites to their cause. They were most displeased to hear that the wall repairs were proceeding unimpeded, so they decided to pick up arms against the Jews and halt construction by force. Nehemiah and the Jews responded in two ways: they prayed and they […]

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